Arsenal’s Price to Pay as Arteta Aims to Emulate Pep Guardiola

Mikel Arteta’s Struggle with Kai Havertz: A 65 Million Pound Question Mark for Arsenal’s Balance

At this point last season, Arsenal was self-proclaimed contenders, storming past Crystal Palace, Leicester City, and Bournemouth in their opening three games, boasting 9 goals and only 2 conceded.

The early days of the campaign saw the Gunners enjoy their best start ever in the Premier League, leading the table for 248 days, only to lose the championship in the final matches to Manchester City. Mikel Arteta’s team couldn’t halt the eventual champions for the most part of the season, primarily due to their lack of experience.

The Spanish manager addressed this issue by securing the signatures of three summer stars, starting with Kai Havertz, a Champions League winner. Arsenal forked out £65 million ($82 million) to acquire the German forward from Chelsea, despite him only managing to net 9 goals across all competitions in the 2022-2023 season.

Subsequent deals for Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber pushed Arsenal’s summer spending past the £200 million mark ($252 million), a sensible move. Arteta’s side needed a quality central midfielder like Rice, and Timber is a stellar addition to bolster the defense.

However, the rationale behind Havertz’s acquisition remains unclear. The 24-year-old player has operated in various positions at Chelsea since his move from Bayer Leverkusen in September 2020 but has never truly justified his £72 million ($90 million) price tag.

Just three games into the new season, Arsenal looks weaker with Havertz starting in place of the departed Granit Xhaka, who joined Bayer Leverkusen in July. After underwhelming performances in unconvincing wins against Nottingham Forest and Palace, Havertz was substituted just 54 minutes into Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Fulham at the Emirates on Saturday.

Arteta evidently has a plan for Havertz, who could offer a lot to Arsenal if utilized correctly. But if he continues in his current role, they may not stand a chance against Manchester City.

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